The last stop on Day Three of the Sprint Media Tour found the media heading to Mooresville, North Carolina, to visit Penske racing. Fresh off a Sprint Cup Championship with Brad Keselowski winning the prize, things were still being improved and changed in the organization.
It was announced that Pennzoil had extended its sponsorship on the No. 22 car and other Penske vehicles for the “long term.” No duration was mentioned, but Roger Penske’s body language seemed to indicate that it was longer than the normal two or three years.
The driver lineup was introduced to all in attendance, which included Jamie Allison, Ford’s racing czar and Edsel Ford. Penske drivers for 2013 include 2012 Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Sam Hornish, Jr., and Ryan Blaney. Keselowski will pilot the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford while Joey Logano will drive the No. 22 Pennzoil Ford in Sprint Cup. In addition, Logano and Blaney will run the full season in the Nationwide Series in Ford Mustangs. Penske also announced a new sponsor, Hertz. Hertz will be a co-primary sponsor on the #22 in fall Charlotte Cup race, and possibly others. Greg Erwin will be Sam Hornish’s crew chief in the Nationwide Series.
Penske executive Walt Czarnecki says the transition to Ford has been seamless. “It’s like we never left,” he said. Team owner Roger Penske said the goal was a manufacturer’s championship for Ford and the organization was endorsing the “One Ford” concept. “We’re excited about working with Doug Yates and his marvelous engines and Jack Roush for his knowledge of what makes a Ford go,” Penske said
Penske said that he had talked to Ryan Newman about running a third car in 2013 before he reached agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing, but sponsorship money was not there for the third car. “Right now, Sam (Hornish) is in line for the third car when it happens.”
The enthusiasm for Ford’s newest team was shown as Allison, Ford, and other executives were in attendance and in good spirits at the dinner. All the new cars were on site, including the bright yellow Hertz car to be on the track in October.